I find Gordon's ascent to the top of depth chart very interesting. It wasn't more than just a couple of months ago I was saying this guy destined to be released. I sure hope Gordon can be the kind defensive tackle that we need.
Former Broncos practice squad player now in starting role
Gordon made Warren expendable for Broncos
Thursday, August 23, 2007
ENGLEWOOD — It wasn't just the money or the motivation that led to Gerard Warren's departure from Denver.
Warren failed to fit into Jim Bates' new defensive scheme and found himself outplayed by a former apprentice, Amon Gordon, a third-year pro who played on the Broncos' practice squad last year after he was claimed off waivers from Cleveland.
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"One of the reasons why we were able to trade Gerard is we had a young guy who stepped up and played pretty consistently for us" throughout the offseason workouts and training camp, coach Mike Shanahan said.
So, Warren is in Oakland trying to revive his career, and Gordon is in Denver trying to get his career off the ground.
Gordon, who has started alongside Sam Adams in the Broncos' preseason games, actually has mixed feelings about Warren's departure.
While it presents him with a terrific opportunity to start, it also separates him from his mentor.
Gordon spent his rookie season in Cleveland, where Warren took him under hiswing before being traded to the Broncos in 2005.
"I definitely have some tools that he's helped me with in my arsenal, no question," said Gordon, who followed Warren to Denver a year later. "And even more than that, it's how to prepare yourself as a pro, how do you gain an advantage, how do you gain a leg up on your opponent? And that's a really big part of this game, the mental side, preparation.
"Once I got a hold of that and grasped the concepts of formations and offensive shifts, then I really felt like I had a leg up and more confidence just playing the game. You understand the game, being a student of the game."
And Warren was a heck of a teacher.
"Gerard, he really helped me out a lot," Gordon said. "He always did his best to say, 'Hey, when you're in there, this is what it's going to look like,' and just passing down those things to where I could develop as a player."
Gordon also benefited from familiarity when he arrived to Denver, where he joined Ebenezer Ekuban, Michael Myers, Kenard Lang, Courtney Brown and Warren, former linemates in Cleveland collectively known as the "Browncos."
"It really helps when you come to a completely different situation and you have friendly guys there, so you kind of get to add to what was taking place before, you don't have to start all over again," Gordon said. With Myers, Brown and Warren all gone and Ekuban going on injured reserve this week with a ruptured Achilles' tendon, Lang and Gordon are the only holdovers.
"It is tough, those are guys I've sweated and bled with," Gordon said. "And Gerard and Ebenezer, both of them have always been very receptive and open. They're not full of themselves, they're professionals. I came in as a rookie and it could have gone either way. But there was no hazing or any of that."
A year ago it seemed far-fetched that Gordon would supplant Warren. Gordon was headed to the practice squad and Warren had just signed a six-year, $36 million contract extension.
But injuries to both big toes led to an unproductive season for Warren, who didn't regain his strength and stamina very fast and ended up renegotiating his contract in the offseason. When Bates replaced Larry Coyer as defensive coordinator, Warren quickly fell out of favor and ended up on the trading block.
Gordon, on the other hand, has turned out to be a perfect fit for Bates' scheme, which requires the interior linemen to hold the point of attack rather than shooting through a gap and pressuring the passer.
"I took a while for me to figure out, hey this is football. You're lining up and smacking the guy across from you," Gordon said. "That's it, (I'm) just being the hammer in this scheme."